These goodies appeared once at a xmas gathering, but the promised recipe never materialized. I wasn't sure what they were called and so was not successful at finding the recipe. Magically, they one day appeared on the glorious Italian Cookie tray of AC. She confessed that it was a friend (Lu) who made them, and I will always be grateful to her for getting the recipe for me. For three years now they have been part of my xmas cookie repertoire (who knows why I only make them once a year...) My tips include a few recipe tweaks and most are linked to mistakes I have made, so do review them!
Not only do these come together ridiculously quickly - you actually have to work quickly for best results. The "getting ready" part may slow you down since there are several things you need to get / have.
- 2 wafer sheets (approximately 9" x 11") - lots of Tips on these - see below
- rimmed baking sheet that fits the wafer sheet - my 10" x 15" works fine
- tea towel
- a very heavy weight - see Tips below
Depending on the serving size you cut them into, you can easily end up with 50-60 pieces per batch. They store well in a tin, kept in a cool place. (In winter, my garage becomes my "cool storage" for things like this.)
Getting ready: Be sure wafers and nuts and marshmallows are fresh; toast (and cool) nuts if you decide to do that; juice orange; prep rimmed baking sheet with parchment, and get second sheet of parchment ready. Place one wafer sheet (deep ridges facing upwards) on the prepared baking sheet.
The mixture below is going to be spread over a wafer sheet and this will be much easier if the mixture is still warm and soft. Once it begins to cool, it solidifies quickly so have everything ready.
1/4 cup of butter
juice of 1/2 orange - about 1/4 - 1/3 cup
1 250 gram bag of mini marshmallows (9-10 oz if you are weighing them)
Place butter in a large bowl (I use my 6 cup measure) and melt butter in microwave - that's about 45 seconds in mine. Add orange juice and give it a quick stir. Add marshmallows and mix a bit so that most marshmallows are coated. Put into microwave and melt on medium / medium-high setting - this takes about 2 minutes in my microwave. And now... get ready to work quickly...
1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips (250 g bag)
2 cups almonds (see Tips below)
Remove above from microwave and stir, and with minimal delay add chocolate chips. Continue stirring until you have a completely smooth chocolate-y mixture. Add almonds and stir until nuts are completely covered. The next step is easiest if this mixture is still as warm as possible...
[The base is a wafer sheet - on top of parchment - with the deep ridges facing upward. You will have this ready in a rimmed baking sheet.]
Spread chocolate mixture evenly onto wafer sheet, close to the edge, but not quite to the edge. (An off-set knife works well here.) Work quickly, as cooled mixture is harder to spread. Take care to be gentle while spreading as the wafer sheets are delicate. Try to spread the mixture as evenly as possible - though keep in mind that the heavy weight is going to help with that job.
Place the second wafer sheet (deep ridges facing down) on top of the chocolate mixture. Resist the urge to press down with your hands. Chances are that the chocolate mixture is not totally even and pressing down with your hands might result in a break in the wafer. Instead, place a sheet of parchment on top, then a tea towel, and then use something large and flat to press down on the top wafer. I use my largest frypan, or Dutch oven.
Leaving the parchment and tea towel in place, put a very heavy weight on top of the whole thing. I have used various things - for example, a full case of wine - yes I often have a full case of wine - no judging... AC's friend Lu, who shared the recipe, uses a heavy steel plate made for this very purpose! She also suggests jugs of vegetable oil, heavy books etc. It's important that the heavy weight be large and flat bottomed - if not, place a cookie sheet on top of the tea towel and then place the heavy weights on top of that.
Leave overnight to set and solidify. Cut into strips or diamonds. The edges will be uneven so you will need to trim them off at some point during the cutting. I use my super sharp kitchen knife to do the cutting. The lines on the wafers act as a cutting guide and I find that pushing down with a sharp knife works best. Some people use a serrated knife, but I find the cutting/sawing motion makes a mess.
Notes and Tips...
- Wafers - I have no idea what else these are used for, but each year it seems easier to find them. At first I found them only in an Italian delicatessen. Now I have even seen them at a bulk store - and, I have seen them in three sizes. The one you must buy measures about 9" x 11". (Don't get the really large, thick wafer sheets.) The wafer sheets are a bit delicate, so take care even bringing them home from the store. You will be trimming off edges, so don't panic if a corner gets wrecked. The wafers I buy come 5 to a package (why 5? why not 6?) so I make two batches of these (though not in the same day). Update: Here's how I use the 5th sheet - taste it for freshness - if the wafers (and/or nuts) are not fresh this simply tastes blah.
- Butter - when making "sweets", people usually use unsalted butter, but chocolate tastes good with salt so use either - your preference
- Orange - keep in mind that you will have enough wafers to make a second batch; save the other half of the orange for round two.
- Marshmallows - when I can get brand name, they weigh 250 grams, but generic brands tend to come in a larger bag so I weigh them using my digital scale. These too need to be fresh.
- Almonds - buy whole almonds and they should be absolutely fresh and crisp - not so old that they are getting chewy. I have used unblanched / roasted, and have also used blanched - and with the blanched, I roast them for 10 minutes in a 350 F oven (and cool).
- Chocolate Chips - these should be high quality - I use Ghiradelli
- Second batch another day - again, rather than throw away the extra wafers I make a second batch. The reason I don't do this on the same day is because I'd then have to find another pan and another heavy weight.
- Troubleshooting - it has happened once - after sitting under the heavy weight, I begin to cut these into diamonds and the wafer pops off the filling. I am not certain why. Am thinking that the marshmallows may not have been fresh enough (thus sticky enough), or I was not quick enough placing the top wafer onto the filling - ideal if the filling is still warm and sticky.
Note how one side of the wafer is fairly smooth and the other has deep ridges. The chocolate mixture needs to be in contact with the deep ridged side, so the bottom wafer is deep ridge up and the top wafer is placed on with deep ridges down.
Once when I got home from buying the wafers, I had a nibble of a broken corner of the wafer and was dismayed to note that it was totally stale. Thankfully I noticed that before I made the tarrone. Be sure the wafers are crispy and taste fresh.
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